I know that what's considered the"best" is such a personal thing so I totally own that this is personal but I simply cannot imagine that anyone who is a connoisseur of fine pastries wouldn't agree that Cafe Pouchkine really has something beyond amazing. Not only are the pastries gorgeous to look at, the one's I've tried are sublime in taste and texture as well. I can say, without reservation, that the "Napoleon" is the single most delicious sweet I have ever eaten anywhere, including from my own kitchen, which is saying a lot.
I first tried it in the late afternoon on a very busy Friday of the holiday weekend. Cafe Pouchkine is located in a corner of Printemps so it was quite the madhouse but we did manage to snag a couple of seats at the elegant coffee bar. The pastries were amazing to look at and it was so difficult to choose but I went for the Napolean, a tower of filo type pastry encasing a rich intensely vanilla cream. OH MY! Even after sitting in the case since morning (I assume) the outside was shatteringly crisp, the inside was rich and creamy and intensely vanilla, not very sweet but just sweet enough. 1 perfectly ripe raspberry, blackberry and tiny strawberry on top added just the correct amount of fruit flavor. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. My husband had a "Mosquito" an intensely pistachio moist concoction that was also delicious but I was past caring as I devoured my Napoleon.
This morning we returned to Cafe Pouchkine and I had another Napoleon. If possible, it was even better. The pastry was even crispier, especially on he bottom and I was back in pastry heaven. This time, being morning, hubby opted for the vanilla croissant. Unbelievable. The most delicious croissant ever, anywhere.
We leave Paris the day after tomorrow but I'm planning to return to Pouchkine tomorrow. I know I should try something else but I'm not sure I can resist yet one more Napoleon. This truly is the holy grail of pastry for me and once discovered, how can I resist? I'll be dreaming of this longingly once I return home.